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Help me plan a literary nonfiction essay unit


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I would like to do a shortish unit with my 9th-grader this year on literary nonfiction--writing about a particular work (both by the same author, or each by different authors...doesn't matter), or writing about writing.

 

The three on my list so far are:

 

1. “The Philosophy of Compostion,†by Edgar Allen Poe, on his writing of the poem The Raven

2. “Politics and the English Language,†by George Orwell on effective (and ineffective) ways to use our language

3. Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" (she is reading and loving LotR now, so she'll have that as context)

 

I'm looking for more along these lines, and also would love some suggestions on good "lit-crit" essays that analyze/contextualize some piece of literature, or that discuss a certain period or trend, or.....  I know there's such a wealth of knowledge out there on these boards, and I bet some of you know some essays that would be just the thing for us!

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I found this book with literary criticism of Harry Potter when I was teaching Intro to Literature.  I thought that it gave a really nice range of responses to the book.  http://www.amazon.com/Mapping-World-Sorcerers-Apprentice-Unauthorized/dp/1932100598/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421691575&sr=8-1&keywords=mapping+the+world+of+harry+potter&pebp=1421691579390&peasin=1932100598

 

One of my favorites was on the topic of if the series was sexist.  I thought the author did a good job of using the text to argue that it had very strong female characters.

 

 

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I found this book with literary criticism of Harry Potter when I was teaching Intro to Literature. I thought that it gave a really nice range of responses to the book. http://www.amazon.com/Mapping-World-Sorcerers-Apprentice-Unauthorized/dp/1932100598/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421691575&sr=8-1&keywords=mapping+the+world+of+harry+potter&pebp=1421691579390&peasin=1932100598

 

Sounds great! Thanks. I will get this from our library.

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Ex Libris:  Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman is one of my all-time favorite essay collections.  It is not a formal essay about literature, but it celebrates reading, writing and the love of words.  Well written and a quick read.

 

This is one of my favorite books.  

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Harold Bloom edits a series of essay books about almost every classic imaginable. My library has them and they're great if you want to gain several points of view about a work. Here's a link to a random one at Amazon:

 

http://smile.amazon.com/Iliad-Blooms-Modern-Critical-Interpretations/dp/0791093069/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421848344&sr=8-1&keywords=harold+bloom+iliad&pebp=1421848351795&peasin=791093069

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